• Kyodo News

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Japanese importers of European vehicles have started discount campaigns to spark demand for high-priced cars amid the deepening recession, industry officials said.

The campaigns are targeting fuel-efficient models because the government plans to offer subsidies to promote sales of environmentally friendly cars, they said.

Audi Japan K.K. launched a campaign last week offering a ¥250,000 discount when Audi owners agree to switch to other models designated by the German automaker.

The discount corresponds to Japan’s subsidy program, which will offer ¥250,000 to drivers who agree to scrap cars registered at least 13 years ago and switch to fuel-efficient vehicles, such as hybrid and electric-powered cars. The subsidy will be retroactive to April 10.

Because the subsidy program will cover fewer imported models than Japanese vehicles, Audi Japan hopes to stimulate demand with the discount campaign, which is valid from May 15 through June 30 and includes cars registered less than 13 years ago.

Buyers of Audis that are eligible under both programs will receive an effective price cut of ¥500,000.

BMW Japan Corp. is providing similar price cuts for five models in the Mini family during its campaign from May 1 to June 30.

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